About the History of Parliament's Introductory Surveys
Most of the sets of History of Parliament volumes have included an introductory survey which analyses and discusses the Members of the House of Commons and constitutencies and elections during the section period that they cover. One set, 1509-1558 was published without a survey, because of the death of its editor, S.T. Bindoff, before it could be completed.
As with all of the History of Parliament's work, it should be noted that these surveys have been compiled over a long period of time (the earliest was published in 1964; the most recent in 2010), and that the information presented varies in its quantity, scope and organisation. Most of the introductory surveys, however, provide analysis on: the composition of the membership of the Commons; the structure of the representative system; the results of the relevant general elections; and other aspects of parliamentary politics at the time. Surveys published more recently also include chapters on the institutional history of Parliament. They also normally include numerous appendices, usually including the dates of Parliaments, key officials (including the Speaker), lists of constituencies and contests, and other material.
The surveys cover the periods: 1386-1421, 1558-1603, 1660-90, 1690-1715, 1715-54, 1754-90 and 1790-1820. The surveys for 1604-29 and 1820-32 (with the associated biographies and constituency articles) are currently only available in print form.
Between 1820 and 1826 the House of Commons had 658 Members, elected by 383 constituencies: 245 English; 24 Welsh; 48 Scottish (with three pairs of counties returning to alternate Parliaments); and 66 Irish. The disfranchisement of Grampound for corruption and the transfer of its two seats to...Read more
This practice continued, probably more extensively than the patchy evidence suggests. A few patrons are known to have sold seats as a matter of course: Northumberland (Launceston); Lord St. Germans (St. Germans) and Sir Mark Wood (Gatton). Doubtless there were others. The cost of known transactions...Read more